Artur Davis’ views on Alabama issues

Published 9:17 pm Thursday, September 11, 2008

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis’ views on issues that could arise if he decides to run for governor in 2010:

EDUCATION: Davis says he wants to keep expanding the Alabama Reading Initiative and the voluntary pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. “There may be a challenge to universal pre-K, but we can certainly do it in a lot of communities that aren’t getting it now.”

TAX RATES: “I’m not interested in raising the taxes of ordinary wage earners in Alabama or the majority of folks in this state. And I’m not looking to revisit individual tax rates in Alabama at this point, even upper income. … My focus, if there were any revisiting, would be the corporate tax rate.”

LOW WAGE EARNERS: Davis advocates raising the threshold where a family of four starts paying state income taxes from $12,600. He would like to see it at least equal half of the state’s median income, which is $38,160 annually. “To put a tax burden on someone making less than half the state’s median income makes no sense to me, particularly in a state that values low taxes.”

PROPERTY TAXES: “I am not interested in changing the tax burden on individual property owners in this state. I am perfectly comfortable going back to four-year appraisals instead of having annual appraisals. … We do have to look at the question of what companies pay, particularly out-of-state companies, because they are getting a pretty generous deal right now. They are getting a better deal than any other states require of them.”

USE OF ANY NEW TAXES: “If I were to do that, it would be to sustain an education system and create a better education system than we have now because that will pay for itself. Every company in this state that is dependent on our work force would be better off having a higher quality of worker in the next five years — a smarter, better-educated quality of worker than having their taxes remain exactly where they are now. I think most companies in this state get that.”

CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: Davis favors placing limits on campaign contributions. “The whole Siegelman-Scrushy business, whatever you think of all that, it starts with a $500,000 check. In my opinion, nobody ought to be able to write a $500,000 check for anything for any purpose. Nobody writes you a $500,000 check for good government. So nobody ought to be able to give that much.”

CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION: “I do support constitutional reform. How you get there is an open question … I’d rather have a convention frankly than the Legislature because I’m more hopeful that a convention might have public servants who don’t necessarily want a political career and don’t worry about getting re-elected.”